Microsoft has opened two new Azure regions in Switzerland, a country with strong data residency regulations – and no AWS physical footprint.
Microsoft announced its plans to build new datacentres in Switzerland back in 2018. As of today two Swiss regions located near Geneva and Zurich have been activated and Azure clients can now select the regions Switzerland North and West.
The new regions will support Azure core cloud computing services as well as Office 365, Dynamic 365 and Microsoft Power Platform.
With the addition of these regions to Microsoft Azure offering it brings the firm’s total region count worldwide up to 56. As of right now Amazon Web Services does not have a Swiss region, while Google Cloud operates a region in Zurich.
Tom Keane Corporate VP of Azure Global commented in a blog post that: “Microsoft cloud services delivered from a given geography, such as our new regions in Switzerland, offer scalable, highly available, and resilient cloud services while helping enterprises and organizations meet their data residency, security, and compliance needs.”
“We have deep expertise protecting data and empowering customers around the globe to meet extensive security and privacy requirements by offering the broadest set of compliance certifications and attestations in the industry.”
Microsoft Azure in Switzerland
One of the key considerations for companies engaging with cloud computing services is where its data will be sorted. This is no longer a thought exercise as GDPR and EU data residency regulations instills legal requirements that data must be stored within the EU.
Switzerland is part of the European Free Trade Association rather than the European Union, however the country has robust data residency regulations on par with the European Union and companies must under many circumstances ensure that sensitive data is stored in Switzerland.
Currently in Switzerland Microsoft is providing an Azure service to over 30 customers and partners, with one the largest clients being Swisscom, Switzerland’s national telecommunications provider. Swisscom uses Azure to offer its clients a managed public cloud service and will be the first Swiss telecommunications company to use ExpressRoute which establishes a high-performance private connection to Azure services.
Last March Thomas Bolliger Partner and Head of Information Governance & Compliance at KPMG Switzerland stated that “the possibility of storing and processing data within the Swiss legal area in the MSFT cloud is attractive.
“A compliance evaluation of the cloud project will show customers by how much the compliance related hurdles in their specific application case have been lowered. It becomes a door opener to leverage new technologies and features the first significant step for companies to gain a fact based understanding of cloud related compliance management.”